The Mother's Charge

By Charlotte Anna Perkins Gilman

The Mother's Charge


She raised her head. With hot and glittering eye,

‘I know,’ she said, ‘that I am going to die.

Come here, my daughter, while my mind is clear.

Let me make plain to you your duty here;

My duty once — I never failed to try—

But for some reason I am going to die.’

She raised her head, and, while her eyes rolled wild,

Poured these instructions on the gasping child:


‘Begin at once — don’t iron sitting down—

Wash your potatoes when the fat is brown—

Monday, unless it rains — it always pays

To get fall sewing done on the right days—

A carpet-sweeper and a little broom—

Save dishes — wash the summer dining-room

With soda — keep the children out of doors—

The starch is out — beeswax on all the floors—

If girls are treated like your friends they stay—

They stay, and treat you like their friends — the way

To make home happy is to keep a jar —

And save the prettiest pieces for the star

In the middle — blue’s too dark — all silk is best—

And don’t forget the corners — when they’re dressed

Put them on ice — and always wash the chest

Three times a day, the windows every week—

We need more flour — the bedroom ceilings leak—

It’s better than onion — keep the boys at home—

Gardening is good — a load, three loads of loam—

They bloom in spring — and smile, smile always, dear—

Be brave, keep on — I hope I’ve made it clear.’


She died, as all her mothers died before.

Her daughter died in turn, and made one more.

Main Idea

This poem is about a mother talking to her daughter while she is on her death bed. The mother is giving her daughter important life lessons until she passes away. She also talks about how all of our loved ones pass away and sooner or later we will all die. But sooner or later we will all be back together.

Reason for this Poem

I chose this poem because I really rely on my mom for advice and when things get tough. And if I was in the same position as the daughter was in my poem I would want my mom to give me as much advice as possible.

Song Connection

I chose the song "Like My Mother Does" by Lauren Alaina because it talks about how a daughter looks up to her mother. I think in the poem that the daughter also looks up to her mother for advice. In the poem the mother is sharing advice before she dies, showing the mother's strength. In the song it also talks about strong her mother is.
Lauren Alaina - Like My Mother Does

Like My Mother Does

People always say I have a laugh
Like my mother does
Guess that makes sense
She taught me how to smile

When things get rough
I've got her spirit, she's always got my back
When I look at her I think
I want to be just like that

When I love I give it all I've got
Like my mother does
When I'm scared, I bow my head and pray
Like my mother does

When I feel weak and unpretty
I know I'm beautiful and strong
Because I see myself
Like my mother does

I've never met a stranger, I can talk to anyone
Like my mother does
I let my temper fly, but she can walk away
When she's had enough

She sees everybody
For who they really are
I'm so thankful for her guidance
She's helped me get this far

When I love I give it all I've got
Like my mother does
When I'm scared I bow my head and pray
Like my mother does

When I feel weak and unpretty
I know I'm beautiful and strong
Because I see myself
Like my mother does

She's a rock, she is grace, she's an angel,
She's my heart and soul, she does it all

When I love, I give it all I've got
Like my mother does
When I'm scared, I bow my head and pray
Like my mother does

When I feel weak and unpretty
I know I'm beautiful and strong
Because I see myself
Like my mother does

Like my mother does
I hear people saying
I'm starting to look
Like my mother does

Orginal Poem

Our hair and opinions may be different

But many of our qualities are the same

The good, the bad, the ugly, and pretty

We sometimes drive the other insane

but always love each other fiercely.